Best move: Sticking with their board. The Ravens’ middle of their defense was significantly upgraded because the team took the best player available instead of addressing a more pressing need at offensive tackle and safety. The result: the Ravens landed a top-10 prospect (Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley) at No. 17 overall and a first-round talent (Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan) in the middle of the second round. Mosley and Jernigan are two of the best in this draft in shedding blocks and stopping the run. The Ravens could’ve taken Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round and Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses in the second if they were trying to fill holes. But the Ravens haven’t finished in the top 10 in defense since 2011, and Mosley and Jernigan are impact players who can get this defense back to its traditionally strong level.
Riskiest move: Not taking an offensive tackle. The Ravens showed a lot of faith in Rick Wagner when they didn’t draft a tackle with any of their nine picks in this year’s draft. Wagner, a fifth-round pick from a year ago, is now penciled in as the starting right tackle. Even though Michael Oher never lived up to expectations, this is a downgrade on the right side of the line. If Wagner struggles, the Ravens could start Ryan Jensen, a sixth-round pick from a year ago, at left guard and move Kelechi Osemele to right tackle. Another option is signing veteran free agent Eric Winston, who played six years under Gary Kubiak in Houston. While it’s a risky move not to draft an offensive tackle, it’s difficult to argue with their strategy. The top four tackles were gone before the Ravens were on the clock in the first round, and it would’ve been a reach to take Moses or North Dakota State’s Billy Turner in the second round. An offensive tackle just failed to fall to them this year.
Most surprising move: Drafting a blocking tight end in the third round. This was the one head-scratcher of the Ravens’ draft. Colorado State’s Crockett Gilmore is a blocking tight end who’s only played the position for three years. ESPN’s Todd McShay rated him as the 165th prospect in this draft, and the Ravens selected him at No. 99. By the time the Ravens picked again, five running backs (Florida State’s Devonta Freeman, Boston College’s Andre Williams, Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey, Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas and Wisconsin’s James White) and two other players previously linked to the Ravens (Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant and Utah cornerback Keith McGill) were gone. Tight ends play a major role in Kubiak’s offense, and the Ravens underscored their importance by taking Gilmore on Day 2.
File it away: The future starting center of the Ravens may have been drafted in the fifth round. John Urschel started at right guard the past two years at Penn State, but he can play all three spots on the interior of the line. There’s no question he’s smart enough to handle the center position. Urschel won the William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the academic Heisman, and he has a master’s degree in math. The Ravens don’t need a center right now after trading for Jeremy Zuttah, but no one should be surprised if Urschel finds his niche there in a few years.
My take–I love the 7th round pick of Michael Campanaro, WR from Wake. I hope not selecting Andre Williams doesn’t come back to haunt the Ravers
Breakdown: Getting off to a fast start will be important if the Baltimore Ravens want to take back the AFC North title. The Ravens play all three AFC North teams in the first three weeks of the season, including the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers at home. After Week 9 (Nov. 2), the Ravens will know where they stand in the division because they will have played five of their six divisional games. The only AFC North game remaining after that is the Dec. 28 season finale against the Cleveland Browns at home. It marks the first time the Ravens have finished the regular season at home since 2010.
The Ravens are only scheduled to play three games in prime time this season, which could be viewed as a slap in the face. It’s the fewest nationally televised games for the Ravens since 2009. This could change because of flexible scheduling. But the Ravens had to expect this after failing to make the playoffs last season.
Complaint department: The brutal part of the Ravens schedule begins in October. The Ravens have a stretch in which they play on the road four times in five weeks. It begins Oct. 5 at Indianapolis, the Ravens’ toughest out-of-division game in the first half of the season. The Ravens then play at Tampa Bay and home against Atlanta before traveling to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. This is what happens when there are three home games in the first month of the season. The Ravens can’t be too happy with their bye either. It comes in Week 11, which means only the Steelers and Carolina Panthers have a later bye. It’s the Ravens’ latest bye since 2001. That just compounds a long opening haul for the Ravens.
Potential easy finish: If the Ravens have to make up ground, the schedule sets up favorably in the final month of the season. The Ravens finish up home against Jacksonville, at Houston and home against Cleveland. Those three teams combined to go 10-38 (.208) last season. If all three struggle again, it’s not out of the question that the Ravens will see rookie quarterbacks in all three games. Getting the Browns in the final game is historically a luxury. Cleveland has lost its past four season finales, including the last two by a combined score of 44-17.
Strength of schedule: 28th, .461 | Vegas over/under : 8.5
Ravens Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 7, Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Thursday, Sep. 11, Pittsburgh, 8:25 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 21, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Sep. 28, Carolina, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 5, at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 12, at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 19, Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 26, at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 2, at Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 9, Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Monday, Nov. 24, at New Orleans, 8:30 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Nov. 30, San Diego, 1 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 7, at Miami, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 14, Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 21, at Houston, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 28, Cleveland, 1 p.m.
MY take—if Campanaro isn’t a Wes Welker, Julian Edelman clone then one doesn’t exist.
From Aaron Wilson’s Column in the Sun
Auditioning for his hometown team today, Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro came away encouraged by his workout at the Ravens’ training complex.
The former River Hill standout was among the NFL draft prospects who participated in today’s local prospects day at team headquarters. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and wide receivers coach Bobby Engram supervised the offensive drills.
“It went awesome,” Campanaro told The Baltimore Sun in a telephone interview. “We did a lot of bag drills to start off and then receiver stuff, footwork, catching the ball clean. We did the Ravens’ route tree. It was a great workout.
R”I was able to meet with coach Engram and coach Kubiak afterward. I think I did great. I didn’t drop any passes. It was fun interacting with those guys. Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg’s daughter went to River Hill, so it was good talking with him.”
The Clarksville native ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the NFL scouting combine and had a 39-inch vertical leap, a 10-2 broad jump, a 6.77 three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times. He met informally with the Ravens at the combine and also had a meeting with them at the Senior Bowl.
Campanaro caught a school-record 229 passes for the Demon Deacons and finished with 2,506 career yards and 14 touchdowns.
Represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus, Campanaro is hoping to be drafted as high as the third round.
Could the Ravens be a good fit for Campanaro?
“Definitely, I think it would be a potential landing spot for me,” Campanaro said. “I think the things they do in their offense I can definitely fit that mold. I got good vibes from the coaching staff. Coach Engram said he gives them his outlook on receivers and they get together as a staff to talk about everyone.
“I feel good about my meetings with him. We’ll just see on draft day. It was a great feeling working out for the Ravens. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to work out for the Baltimore Ravens’ coaching staff.”
The Ravens have agreed to terms on a one-year deal, pending a physical, with tight end Owen Daniels.
Daniels, 31, has spent his entire eight-year career with new Ravens Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak in Houston and the two will now reunite.
Daniels is a two-time Pro Bowler (2008 and 2012) and a refined pass catcher. He caught 70 passes for 862 yards and two touchdowns in 2008 and 62 passes for 716 yards and six scores in 2012.
He is adept at finding openings within coverage and making tough catches.
In Texans franchise history, Daniels ranks second in career receptions (385), receiving yards (4,617) and receiving touchdowns (29). He has seen action in more than 100 games with 96 starts.
Coach John Harbaugh was given a one-year contract extension by the Baltimore Ravens last month, owner Steve Bisciotti told ESPN.com on Monday.
Ravens ownership sent the right message of support by adding a year to coach John Harbaugh’s contract, writes Jamison Hensley. Story
Harbaugh signed a four-year contract last year after the Ravens won the Super Bowl. This extension means he is signed through the 2017 season.
Bisciotti indicated the extension represents a vote of confidence. He wanted Harbaugh to know his opinion of him as a leader hadn’t changed after last season, which was the first time Harbaugh hadn’t led the Ravens to the playoffs.
“I expect him to rebound from this disappointment with the same tenacity he attacks everything else,” Bisciotti said at the NFL owners’ meetings. “I just wanted him to know that disappointment is shared by all, and the only way I figured I could was to give him another year and start the clock over again.”
Harbaugh, 51, is 71-38 in six seasons with the Ravens. His .651 winning percentage ranks fourth among active coaches.
Wednesday, March 12
Ravens In Contact With Alex Mack (3:13 p.m.)
Baltimore is one of four teams that have been in contact with center Alex Mack, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. The Indianapolis Colts are another. Rapoport says there have been “varying levels” of interest and that teams are “waiting for the frenzy to die down.”
Daniels Visiting Packers (1:37 p.m.)
Tight end Owen Daniels is visiting the Green Bay Packers first, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Daniels has been rumored as being of interest to the Ravens and Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, who coached Daniels for eight years in Houston. He’s a proven pass-catching option.
Steve Smith Will Go Elsewhere (1:29 p.m.)
Wide receiver Steve Smith’s agent told The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson that his client will be “throwing on a jersey for another team to be named soon.” Wilson said the Ravens are expected to “closely monitor” the situation.
Jacoby Jones is dancing back to Baltimore.
The playmaking wide receiver and special teams returner has agreed in principle to a new four-year deal on the same day he was visiting the New York Giants.
Jones’ deal is for $14 million with $4.5 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Keeping Jones maintains the Ravens’ big-play threat on offense, and a difference-maker as a returner.
With rumors swirling of the Ravens being possible suitors for other free agent wide receivers, keeping Jones marks the third offensive player Baltimore has re-signed already this offseason, following tight end Dennis Pitta and left tackle Eugene Monroe.
My Take—Another player in the right man, right price category. Jacoby is a playmaker and certainly helps to make the entire offense better. He was instrumental in many Ravens wins the past 2 years.
Still miss #81 but it’s time to let go.
ESPN, Mel Kiper
Posted Feb. 6
TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Junior; 6-foot-4, 231 pounds; 62 catches, 973 yards, 3 touchdowns
“I wouldn’t compare Anquan Boldin to Ebron, but I will say this: Quarterbacks love to have guys they can throw to with the confidence that their guy can win a contested catch. You could say Boldin lacked the quickness to get open, but he was a trusted target because of the way he could use his size and strength to win a physical contest to catch a pass. Ebron is the kind of new-breed tight end who can be split out, line up in the slot, or take a hit from a strongside linebacker and get into a route where he becomes a constant matchup threat and a likely winner for contested passes. Joe Flacco will like having him around.”
Sports Illustrated, Doug Farrar
Posted Feb. 6
WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Redshirt sophomore, 6-5, 225; 69 catches, 1,394 yards, 12 touchdowns
“Baltimore’s offense fell off a cliff in 2013, and while the run game was the major issue, nobody with a brain is ready to give up on Ray Rice. Instead, the Ravens should be looking at better targets for Joe Flacco, who desperately missed Anquan Boldin last season. Evans has the size at 6-5 and 225 pounds to deal with aggressive defensive backs, but he can also get free in a straight line — something he showed over and over when he was on the receiving end of footballs from Johnny Manziel. Given Flacco’s natural feel for the deep ball, Evans would have Rookie of the Year potential in this offense.”
Sports Illustrated, Chris Burke
Posted. Jan. 9
WR Marqise Lee, USC
Junior; 6-0, 195; 57 catches, 791 yards, 4 touchdowns
“The Ravens cannot go through another season with their receiving corps in the shape it was in for 2013. Nabbing a potential game-breaker in the middle of Round 1 would do wonders for Joe Flacco, the run game and the offense as a whole. Lee bounced back from an injury-plagued season to star in USC’s bowl win. He has home-run potential whenever he catches the football, plus advanced capabilities as a route-runner.”
Posted Feb. 4
TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
“Finding more receiving options for Joe Flacco may be atop the Ravens to-do list this offseason, especially considering their drop in offensive success once Anquan Boldin left. With the receiver class so deep, they’ll likely look there in later rounds. Pairing Amaro with the current tight end Dennis Pitta would give this team a unique two-tight end strength that would be extremely tough to defend for their AFC North foes.”
Posted Feb. 5
ILB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Senior; 6-2, 232 pounds; 108 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 5 passes defensed
“The Ravens had their eye on Dont’a Hightower as a possible replacement for Ray Lewis a couple of years ago. Perhaps they’ll finally land an inside linebacker from Alabama. Baltimore took Arthur Brown in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but this position could still be addressed because Daryl Smith happens to be a free agent.”
NFL.com, Bucky Brooks
Posted Jan. 14
WR Sammy Watkins
Junior; 6-1, 205 pounds; 101 receptions, 1,464 yards, 12 touchdowns
“A big-bodied receiver could be in play, and it would be hard for General Manager Ozzie Newsome to bypass the top receiver in the draft at this point.”
Ravens Eke out 20-17 Overtime Victory last Sunday
Ravens can return to thick of AFC North Race with Victory over the Bears Sunday
What is wrong with Ray Rice?
Chris Davis 3rd Place in MVP Chase –WHAT???????????
Ed Reed forces his way off Texans and winds up back with Rex Ryan
Geno Auriemma comes to Comcast last night and waltzes over the Terps
President Obama will be at Comcast Sunday night
Capitals win 5th shootout this season defeating the Red Wings
Wizards are off to a 2-6 start
Terrapin Basketball gets LOIs from 4 top 100 recruits
Michigan State defeats Kentucky and then barely gets by Columbia
Big Ben leaving the Steelers?
Former 1980-81 Colt Coach Mike McCormack passes away
Terps face must win 1 situation in final 3 games of season
Pacers 9-0 to Start season
LB for UCLA Miles Jack scores 4 Rushing TDs and had 5 tackles